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Forgiving a racist chant (reporting from Oklahoma City): Amid national outrage over a video referencing the N-word and lynchings, a Christian senator seeks to bring healing. 

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Sen. Anastasia Pittman chose forgiveness over bitterness.

Pittman — the only African-American female among Oklahoma’s 149 legislators — made national headlines when she stood beside an expelled University of Oklahoma fraternity member at a March 25 news conference. Levi Pettit, who is white, apologized for his role in a racist chant caught on video.

But what brought the respected state senator and the disgraced frat boy to the same stage?

“I can’t promote Christianity or Christ-like values in policy, and then when I have an opportunity to forgive, I don’t,” Pittman, a longtime member of the Northeast Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, told The Christian Chronicle.

The 44-year-old Democrat recalled the conversion of Saul in the Book of Acts: “He was bold in his persecutions of Christians. But on the road to Damascus, he had a change of heart. He became a prisoner of Christ. He became bold in saving and winning souls.”

With regard to 20-year-old Pettit, she said, “I think this young man has a bright future.”

This story appears in the April 2015 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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